Blog Post: Welcome to RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre

Introducing RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre After months of moving walls, dismantling false ceilings, re-designing, painting, cleaning and sprucing, we’re super excited that the time has finally come to open the newly refurbished RSPB visitor centre here at Fairhaven Lake. This massive project has been made possible with thanks to our strong partnership with Fylde Council and the National Heritage Lottery Fund . Those of you who have been following our restoration will know that this is part of a much larger project . The RSPB building is the first of the newly renovated buildings around the Lake to open, with the Isaac Dixon Boathouse Watersports and Education Centre, (which is just next door) not far behind us. We’re delighted to be able to welcome you back very soon! What’s new? Our shiny new name ! Formerly the Ribble Discovery Centre, we are now going to be called the RSPB Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre . For a long time, many locals and visitors alike have referred to us as “Fairhaven Lake Visitor Centre” or “the RSPB centre at Fairhaven Lake”, so we decided we should do what we say on the tin. The interior layout - after not having much in the way of improvement work for many years, the building has a great new look and feel - as you walk in, it's bright, light and airy. The removal of the old suspended ceiling has done much to improve this. The original high wooden ceiling is now in full view and looks fantastic and the lighter coloured carpet also adds to the fresher feel. We’ve got fabulous new interactive information boards and screens , including a free downloadable app , for information and activity ideas for when you are walking around the whole site, which will be linked to the boards around the lake and gardens. The whole focus is to then connect back to the importance of the estuary, with the sound and sights of birds in a spectacular sound and light show throughout the building. For those of you that have been before, the centre will be almost unrecognisable as you walk in. Gone is the old green carpet and tired, dark wood shop display. Gone are the bird sound displays that were past their prime. However, all of this has been replaced with much more modern interactive elements. The new 360 degree rotating kiosk provides live pictures of the lake and gardens and all across the estuary, which you can choose and select yourself. We’ve got lots of information and seasonal things to look out for. Family fun - Added to all of this will be family activity backpacks to hire , with ideas, equipment and identification charts, one for the beach and estuary and one for the lake and gardens. Great for a fantastic family day out. What’s not changed? Our shop - for existing and new customers alike, our much-loved RSPB shop is very much still here, just with a fresh, new face. It is a much clearer, brighter space with a whole new extended layout. The small dark office and stock room are gone (we’re sharing with Fylde Council in another building) and this extra space has allowed for a number of brilliant new elements and product ranges within the store. We will still be selling all the old favourites, such as our popular, Fair to Nature assured quality bird food and feeder ranges. We’ve also still got a fantastic range of binoculars and spotting scopes suitable for all needs and budgets. Whether it’s a pair of binoculars for the family to spot nature in your own garden, a telescope to use out birding, or compacts that make seeing wildlife on your walks that little bit extra special, we’ve got something for everyone. Prices start from just £25 and include premium brands such as our own popular RSPB series, along with Viking, Swarovski, Leica and Nikon. To try our extensive range in a Covid-secure way, please call us on 01253796292 to arrange an appointment. Wondering what to buy your nature-loving friend or family member, or just wanting to treat yourself? You can still find plenty of great ideas within our gift range. Whether you’re looking for wildlife-themed books, home and kitchenware, clothing accessories, or a new addition for the garden, we’ve got something for you. Plus, keep the little ones entertained with our fantastic range of fun and educational nature-inspired toys and games. We’ve got a selection of takeaway food and drink. We will be offering Bewley’s Bird Friendly coffee. Unlike traditional coffee plantations, growers leave the tree canopy above the coffee bush in place, providing vital home for nature in the trees and on the forest floor. This means this coffee is uniquely triple certified to the bird friendly, organic and Fairtrade Standards. Our Eros tea is also Fairtrade and organic where possible. All of our takeaway options are served in compostable vegware or we will happily fill up your own coffee cup or container. Wherever possible, our food is sustainably packaged, locally sourced, organic, Fairtrade, palm-oil free or sustainable palm oil. More fun for the family - for avid fans of our badge-making kit , never fear, there will be a new and improved version, so you'll still be able to colour, make and collect and for those avid pin badge collectors there's going to be much more fun about it. Events - in the coming months, we will start running a wide range of events and activities both in the centre and around the site, in partnership with Fylde Council. Some old favourites will return, but there will be an exciting new range of others to choose from too. Keep an eye on our website and social media for details. School and youth group visits – we are taking bookings for school and youth group trips from autumn 2021 onwards. By then we will have our brand-new classroom space in the Isaac Dixon boathouse, which will provide the perfect base for our unique, hands-on and fun learning outdoor experience by the seaside. We’ve got ‘ Learning Outside the Classroom ’ accredited opportunities for all key stages and abilities, including our exclusive mud dipping activity. With a suite of curriculum-linked sessions on offer, our qualified, enthusiastic learning team will help your class or group uncover the secrets of the Ribble Estuary and the creatures that call it home. Our friendly team of staff and volunteers are eager to be back on hand to welcome you. We will be ready to provide information about the Heritage Lottery funded regeneration, including the history of the site and buildings as well as the wildlife and nature of the gardens and the estuary beyond. The estuary is a vital source of food and nutrients for a quarter of a million birds every year, a testament to its importance as a wildlife haven on the Ribble, so we will help you explore what this vast site has to offer. The new centre will open its doors for the first time on 29 April and we are really looking forward to being able to welcome visitors old and new to our wonderful centre. We will be open every day 10-5 See you soon! Jo, Ben and Liz To keep up to date with all of the latest news, check us out on: